“Hyku” is the result of a thirty-month project to develop a scalable, performant and multi-tenant digital content repository solution within the Samvera (previously known as Hydra) framework. This work was done by Stanford University, DuraSpace, and The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) through a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

One of the project goals included working toward offering a cloud-based, hosted version of the application to lower the barrier of entry and expand the number and diversity of institutions capable of leveraging this powerful digital repository platform. To that end, DuraSpace piloted Hyku as a hosted service, called HykuDirect, over the past six months. In parallel, DuraSpace held consultation with hosted repository service providers to assess their readiness to host Hyku as a service.

The feedback from both pilots and service providers will form the basis of Hyku sustainability planning within the Samvera community and an IMLS grant pre-proposal for phase two of the project. We’re excited to share news of the momentum gained on Hyku with our members and wider community, as well as, gather additional investment in the next steps of this exciting project.

HykuDirect Update

The Pilot Program set out to determine the feasibility and value of a hosted Hyku repository service. It included institutions representing many different use cases such as Arizona State Library & Archives, Cleveland Public Library, University of Miami, New Hampshire Digital Project, PALCI, and St. Lawrence University.

Feedback from the pilots is summarized in the HykuDirect Pilot Project Gap Assessment. It outlines work that can be done by the community to support and invest in a competitive hosted repository service in the future. Based on the feedback, DuraSpace determined HykuDirect isn’t production-ready yet – but can be through greater collaboration with the Samvera and DuraSpace communities.

Partners on this project will discuss the HykuDirect Pilot Project Gap Assessment at Samvera Connect to align the feedback with the development roadmap of Hyrax (the code base at the core of Hyku). Development of many of the features mentioned in the assessment will benefit both Hyku and Hyrax users.

Additionally, some pilot and affiliate organizations have expressed an interest in developing a pledge program to support feature development for Hyku. This, paired with the Hyku services launching at CoSector and Ubiquity Press, add to the momentum building for Hyku.

IMLS Pre-proposal

In addition to the Pilot Program, this summer DuraSpace and Stanford University partnered on an IMLS pre-proposal for phase two of the Hydra-in-a-Box project called, “Growing and Sustaining Hyku: A Repository for All Seasons.” It aims to polish and enhance the software, and build community infrastructure to promote more widespread adoption of Samvera technologies, through three main activities:

  • Extend development of Hyku features and the core product – We will augment the solution with features as planned, features that facilitate sharing research outputs and collection content, with an eye on parity with existing commercial solutions.

  • Validate deployment and support by a diverse network of providers – We will run Hyku in a production cloud environment, providing a live laboratory to validate and demonstrate the product’s utility to adopters and its fit as a provider-friendly hosted service. This will generate a virtuous circle of feedback to inform development as well as bootstrap a service provider program in partnership with the Samvera community.

  • Establish structure to integrate with Samvera activities – In partnership with the Samvera community, we will establish a governance structure to bridge and ultimately incorporate Hyku activities into Samvera community mechanisms in order to sustain Hyku development and services over the long-term.

If this application is successful, we plan to combine grant funds with funds and developer time pledged by community members interested in using and providing Hyku services. This mix of participation and ownership of the program aligns with the popular proposal published by David W. Lewis, Dean of the IUPUI University Library, that suggests libraries contribute a percentage of their total budgets to support the common infrastructure needed to create the open scholarly commons.

Call to Action

The granting partners are heartened by the momentum building around the Hyku project. DuraSpace will continue to champion Hyku and is looking forward to working with the community to enhance the product in ways which will make a hosted service, like HykuDirect, possible.

If you’re interested in Hyku and its mission of lowering the barrier of entry to open source digital repository services, please contact contact@hykudirect.org, to discuss an investment of staff time or funds to the project. We look forward to working with you!

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